If your email provider suffers a breach or data loss, what are your security or recovery options?
In the world of small-business management, the one budget that lives up to the moniker is in information technology (IT). As imperative as technology is to modern business, providing the actual services can require a great deal of capital. Sure, you’d like to give every employee brand new iPhones, laptops and unlimited cloud storage, but being an entrepreneur means being prudent with every dollar. However, if there’s one IT area you
might want to spend a little extra on, it’s email.
As counterintuitive as it sounds, investing in email early can be one of the smartest decisions you can make for your small business. I know, you probably remember one of the perks of your website was something like 25-100 “free” email accounts. That is a great deal, but who owns those emails? Are they stored on an unaccounted server your provider leases space from? If the provider suffers a breach or data loss, what are your security or recovery options? If you’ve already accounted for all this, you’re ahead of the game. Still, for real peace of mind, you might consider housing a local email server that you own, secure and administer on site.
Words like “secure” and “administer” may sound a bit technical — and that may not be your strong suit — but managing your email in house guarantees your data ownership rights, information privacy and unlimited email accounts. The cost is certainly a consideration. Servers are basically stripped down computers with massive storage space, but administering, updating and maintaining them requires someone who knows what he or she is doing. This means an investment in a long-term service contract, which can be $1,000 per year or more.
Maybe that sounds exorbitant, or maybe you feel that your current online service provider is fitting your needs. Or, possibly, you don’t see email as a vital part of your business communications. But before you write the whole thing off, ask yourself these questions: How much of your company’s proprietary data is being stored by a third party? How much of your customers’ personal data is being stored there? And if you’re relying on free accounts like Gmail, Yahoo or Outlook, what major tech corporation is reading that information and profiting from it? ♦
Patrick Boberg is a central Iowa creative media specialist. Follow him on Twitter @PatBoBomb.